Rose Miller, team lead of the JN BeWi$e financial empowerment programme, underscores the importance for persons to carefully manage their day-to-day finances, at all times and in all seasons of live but particularly during retirement.
This she said in particular when income is oftentimes reduced and the pensioners still have to navigate high inflation, the upward movement in the price of food, medication and other goods and services.
Mrs Miller stressed the importance of budgeting during this season of life, as it is easy to overspend when a close eye is not kept on purchases.
“As a pensioner, not only are you faced with reduced income, increased prices but significantly, many seniors as they age must also factor in increased cost of healthcare and the cost of long term care and assistance if and when you are no longer able to manage on your own. Therefore, it is important to be thrifty in your spending,” she explained.
Tracking of spending is one way of ensuring that money is not wasted on unnecessary purchases. Mrs Miller informed that for those seniors not averse to technology, using a budgeting app would be beneficial. With aggressive tracking of expenses and making some other spending adjustments, the savings can be great, she advised.
Some of these apps include the Mint app, which helps seniors keep an eye on their budgets and finances and budget simple, a free online budgeting tool.
“I would recommend frugal spending as much as possible, shopping where they can get the best prices, taking advantages of rewards and utilising substitutes wherever possible instead of the higher priced products,” said Mrs Miller.
Take advantage of discounts for seniors wherever they are available, she said. Noting that sometimes seniors may be asked to prove their eligibility, pensioners should be prepared with the appropriate documents; proof of age or government-issued identification would be sufficient. She also recommended teaming up with close friends or family members to purchase groceries in bulk.
To supplement their income, seniors should explore the option of monetising their hobbies, Mrs Miller advised.
“If you have a hobby that you can monetise, you should do that. Even if you can develop a new skill that can bring in income, you should explore that. For example, if you are a teacher, you can offer tutoring services during your retirement,” she said.
Another avenue which could be pursued is property rental which would generate income. Mrs Miller informed that seniors who have a large home may consider downsizing and converting a section of the property to provide rental income.
She noted that owning a large home may not make sense. For some the option of selling their current home and purchasing a smaller house or condo might be more practical and attractive. This will not only reduce home expenses, but also make life less stressful in terms of cleaning and maintenance.
The JN BeWi$e Financial Empowerment team lead suggested that seniors also start a backyard garden where they can cultivate vegetables or general cash crops which could generate an income, but at the very least, reduce or eliminate purchases of these items.
“Vegetables such as calaloo, peppers, and tomatoes are among crops easily cultivated and they mature in a short period of time. The produce from gardening can help to offset buying them at the markets and the surplus can be sold. Gardening will not only keep seniors busy, reducing boredom, but has the added advantage of providing them with the exercise they need to keep fit , warding off or helping to manage some lifestyle diseases,” she explained.